0

In French, the word "latineries" relates to the latin language in a pejorative way. Is there an English equivalent to this word?

  • I've come across some highbrow usage of that word in English, but it's very unusual, and I'm not aware of any commonly-used or commonly-understood equivalent. – SamBC Apr 5 at 16:33
  • 1
    Writing or speech may be said to contain an excessive number of latinisms, but the term itself is neutral – Michael Harvey Apr 5 at 17:17
1

English doesn't have the same relationship to Latin that French does. In English, words from Latin (often introduced via French) tend to complement Germanic words from Anglo Saxon.

So there is "bird", but the adjective "avian"; we can "begin" or "commence"; we drink "water", but make an "aqueous solution of sodium chloride". The Latin term is associated with sophisticated language, particularly scientific or intellectual language. There are also borrowings of Latin phrases, like "quid pro quo". Most of these started as expressions used by lawyers.

We sometimes call these words or phrases "Latinisms". Some authors use such words whenever they allow us to be more precise. Other authors (notably George Orwell) recommended always choosing the Anglo-Saxon over the Latin. However, the term "Latinism" is not itself pejorative. A negative sense could be suggested by saying:

...the unnecessary use of Latinisms, such as "quid pro quo"...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.